“Equity is just and fair inclusion into a society in which all, including all racial and ethnic groups, can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Equity gives all people a just and fair shot in life despite historic patterns of racial and economic exclusion,” explains PolicyLink. Fair inclusion in our region means prioritizing City Heights, a community that for long, has been excluded from the resources and opportunities we need to prosper.
City Heights is a neighborhood of color and immigrant families, often ignored and underserved, where residents have embarked on years of organizing to see actual results from our elected officials. One recent example is the inauguration on February 24th, 2018 of the Mid-City Centerline Transit Stations. This multi-generational, community-led advocacy campaign launched in the late 70s, nearly forty years ago, to demand transit-only lanes within the median of the Interstate Highway 15, a highly-contested highway that divided the neighborhood in half.
The Climate Action Plan Report Card released in February 2018 illustrates a more current example of the unequal improvements in the quality of life in our region. The Report Card “offers a comprehensive look at what our cities are doing to stop climate change and improve quality of life in our region,” explains Sophie Wolfram, Director of Programs at Climate Action Campaign. The Report Card concludes that while our region leads the nation in its commitment to 100% clean energy, it also falls behind on social equity. This means that San Diego is not doing enough to prioritize the cities most affected by climate change, low-income communities of color.
It is also no secret that an economic and political divide exists between communities north and south of the Interstate 8. Communities “north of the 8” are newer, generally whiter, older, and wealthier. While people of color and immigrants live in higher density neighborhoods “south of the 8,” such as in City Heights. The Interstate 8 marks a line of unequal distribution of resources and opportunities in San Diego.
There are great opportunities to get on the right track in our region and working towards a more equitable San Diego is the right way forward.
With the recent appointment of Georgette Gómez to Chair of MTS, we see a fantastic opportunity to improve the transit system for those that rely on it the most. Youth, for example, need access to an affordable and efficient transit system to get to their activities, to school, to work, and to other opportunities. Gómez has expressed that she wants to focus “on getting funding for free or discounted youth transit passes,” and we look forward to working with her to ensure youth can get to the places they need to become happy, healthy, contributing members of their community.